Embed from Getty Images
($9,000) Jan Blachowicz vs. ($7,200) Glover Teixeira – I believe this could be a good fight to have on the slate, as there is value in each man. The Champion Jan Blachowicz has been a juggernaut during a stretch that has seen him win five straight and nine of the last ten. While Blachowicz has only scored 94.02 in the nine wins, I believe the 42 year old Glover Teixeira could be someone that the Pole drops several times before putting away. Then again, I also like Teixeira as a play. With excellent grappling and submission abilities, as long as Teixeira can remain conscious, he could grind and drag the Champion down. A world in which he’d rather avoid.
Verdict: Both are good plays. Blachowicz could very well knockout Teixeira at some point or Teixeira can drag the fight down to the mat and submit the Champ.Embed from Getty Images
($7,400) Cory Sandhagen vs. ($8,800) Petr Yan – This fight should have the highest combined ownership, as both men are two of the best the Bantamweight division has to offer. Petr Yan, the former Champion, returns to the octagon after dropping his belt due to a disqualification. In that fight, he scored 90.4 points which is a lot considering it’s without a win bonus and it occurred in round four. Overall though, Yan in averaging 104.9 points in eight fights. Having scored over 110 points in four of the fights, with a high of 154.1 points, Yan is a solid play whenever he steps foot inside the octagon. Meanwhile, Sandhagen too makes for a good play. Despite losing a close split decision loss to T.J. Dillashaw, the ‘Sandman’ is still deserving of this Interim title fight. In seven wins, Sandhagen has eclipsed 100 points four times and is averaging 105.31. With a high output and funky style, Sandhagen is worth every penny.
Verdict: Both are great plays. Yan offers a chance at more points due to wrestling, whereas Sandhagen at this price is great value regardless is he gets a finish.Embed from Getty Images
($6,600) Dan Hooker vs. ($9,600) Islam Makhachev – As the highest priced fighter on the slate and being dubbed the prodigy of Khabib Nurmagomedov, Islam Makhachev certainly is being held in high order. With eight consecutive wins and the last two coming via submission, the hype is certainly warranted. However, I’m not certain that the price tag meets the expectations regarding fantasy points. Having eclipsed over 100 points in four of the eight wins, Makhachev is only averaging 98.25. At price tag of $9,600 and against the best fighter he has faced to date, I’m not staking Makhachev. Instead, I could see a play on Hooker. With the third best takedown defense of all-time in the Lightweight division at 90.5%, Hooker may fare better than we think. At $6,600 you could do worse than the #6 Lightweight in the UFC.
Verdict: Hooker or PassEmbed from Getty Images
($7,300) Marcin Tybura vs. ($8,900) Alexander Volkov – As much as I like Alexander Volkov’s abilities in the Heavyweight division, he’s not exactly as good of a fantasy play as you would think. In seven UFC wins, Volkov has only eclipsed 100 points twice and is averaging 88.3 fantasy points. His lack of wrestling abilities are really why he doesn’t score as much despite winning four of the seven fights via stoppage. Meanwhile, Marcin Tybura could be a play here. On a five-fight win streak, the former M-1 Champion seems to have finally of found his footing inside the octagon. With a nice mix of striking and wrestling, Tybura has averaged 93.92 points during this streak. Given Volkov has somewhat struggled with wrestlers, I could see a path of victory.
Verdict: Marcin Tybura or pass.Embed from Getty Images
($9,500) Khamzat Chimaev vs. ($6,700) Li Jingliang – I expect this fight to get a lot of ownership both ways. Khamzat Chimaev is coming into this fight off a layoff a little more than a year due to an ugly bout with the coronavirus. Chimaev even almost retired because of it. However, the man that has been hit by only two strikes in three UFC fights is back. Averaging a 124.2 points in those three wins, Chimaev is absolutely a great play regardless of price. Then there is Li Jingliang, who has exceeded expectations when the UFC brought him in. In fact, he is by far the best male fighter the UFC has signed from China. With eight wins in the last ten fights, Jingliang has quietly worked his way into the UFC top fifteen Welterweight rankings. At a price tag of $6,700, with an average of 97.12 in the eight wins, Jingliang is definitely a good play at the price.
Verdict: Khamzat Chimaev to pick up big points or Li Jingliang as a super salary saver with a winning pedigreeEmbed from Getty Images
($9,100) Magomed Ankalaev vs. ($7,100) Volkan Oezdemir – I see value in this fight, as Magomed Ankalaev comes into this bout on a six-fight win streak. In those six wins, Ankalaev has knocked out four opponents and averaged 99.25 fantasy points. The one thing I will point out, Ankalaev’s biggest points came in two fights against the wild and crazy Ion Cutelaba – in which one fight he got stopped when appearing to fake being rocked. Meanwhile, Volkan Oezdemir has been a perennial top ten Light Heavyweight for the past four years. While he did suffer a knockout in his last go around to Jiri Prochazka, it was the first time Oezdemir has been knocked down in nine UFC fights. In five wins inside the octagon, Oezdemir has eclipsed over 120 fantasy points three times. At a price tag of $7,100, you could do worse.
Verdict: Volkan Oezdemir or PassEmbed from Getty Images
($8,000) Virna Jandiroba vs. ($8,200) Amanda Ribas – If you’re looking for a mid-tier salary, I think this is a solid fight to put up 90 points or so. Virna Jandiroba is a former Invicta FC Champion who has done well since joining the UFC. In five fights, Jandiroba has won three, all of which have come via stoppage. In those wins, Jandiroba is averaging a solid 94.83 fantasy points. Meanwhile, Amanda Ribas stormed into the UFC with four consecutive wins. In those wins, she eclipsed 100 points three times and averaged 96.6 fantasy points. While Ribas did lose in her last go around, it was was too a powerful striker in Marina Rodriguez. Given Jandiroba has only one knockout victory in her career, I’d say she’s safe on the feet this time.
Verdict: Personally I like Virna Jandiroba better due to her grappling and well, my belief that she is underrated. However, I don’t fault anyone who likes Ribas in this fight too.Embed from Getty Images
($7,900) Ricardo Ramos vs. ($8,300) Zubaira Tukhugov – This is one I’m staying away from. Not only should this be a competitive fight, but neither men exactly light it up when regarding fantasy points. In six wins, Ricardo Ramos is averaging 80.65 fantasy points, having only eclipsed 100 points once. Meanwhile, Zabaira Tukhugov has eclipsed 100 points twice, but is averaging only 83.67 fantasy points in four wins. Throw in the fact that he has only one win in the last four fights and I’d say this isn’t a fight to have too much stake in.
Verdict: PassEmbed from Getty Images
($9,200) Albert Duraev vs. ($7,000) Roman Kopylov – I could see either man being a popular play, as both are finishers. Albert Duraev comes into his UFC debut a winner of nine straight and eleven of his last twelve fights. In that span, Duraev has stopped nine of those eleven opponents, including a submission victory against Caio Bittencourt a little over a month ago. As for Roman Kopylov, the Russian striker has been inactive for nearly two years. With fast hands and power, Kopylov has won seven of his eight fights via knockout. While I do have Duraev winning this fight via submission, I wouldn’t count out Kopylov on spoiling the party.
Verdict: Albert Duraev is a good bet to use wrestling and lock in a submission, but Roman Kopylov’s knockout prowess as a value play I could live with.Embed from Getty Images
($7,700) Benoit Saint-Denis vs. ($8,500) Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos – This is a fight that I believe could be part of the optimal lineup. Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos is a dynamic striker who looks for the finish. With eight wins in his last ten fights, and three stoppage victories in the last four wins, dos Santos is someone worth putting stake in. Then there is UFC newcomer Benoit Saint-Denis, who is a grappling and submission specialist. With all eight wins coming by stoppage, seven via submission, Saint-Denis could prove to be a good value play.
Verdict: Given both men are finishers, either is a good play. Personally I like Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos better, but Benoit Sain-Denis is solid value for a card with heavy favorites.Embed from Getty Images
($8,400) Shamil Gamzatov vs. ($7,800) Michal Oleksiejczuk – In what should be a competitive fight, these are two fighters I’m not keen on having much stake in. While both men do profile as finishers, level of competition has been a determining factor more than anything. Now, I could see Shamil Gamzatov mixing in some wrestling this time around, especially given Michal Oleksiejczuk’s takedown defense sits around 40%. However, I’m not banking on that, especially at the price tag of $8,400.
Verdict: PassEmbed from Getty Images
($6,900) Makwan Amirkhani vs. ($9,300) Lerone Murphy – I wasn’t expecting this fight to be price tagged as such, but I understand it if we are talking betting odds. Lerone Murphy is a rising talent that has the skills necessary to be a future Featherweight contender. Minus a debut that saw Murphy be taken down six times, he has been somewhat better at fending off takedown attempts. Something that Makwan Amirkhani will look to exploit, as he’s taken down every opponent he’s faced besides his debut which was an eight second knockout victory. To me, while I do believe Lerone Murphy wins, I’m not forking up for him at this price tag.
Verdict: Makwan Amirkanhi or PassEmbed from Getty Images
($8,600) Andre Petroski vs. ($7,600) Yaozong Hu – This is a fight that I want stake in. While both fighters are rather inexperienced, it’s Yaozong Hu who comes into this fight with red flags. Not only has Hu not fought in nearly three years, but he is dropping down from Heavyweight to Middleweight. With only three wins, and the last one coming nearly five years ago, Hu is not someone I’d target. Instead, I’d go heavy on Andre Petroski. The wrestler debuted two month’s ago against Michael Gilmore and scored 106.1 fantasy points. It’s reasonable to expect the same if not more points in this fight for Petroski.
Verdict: Andre PetroskiEmbed from Getty Images
($6,800) Allan Nascimento vs. ($9,400) Tagir Ulanbekov – As the third highest priced fighter in a card that has some big favorites, Tagir Ulanbekov is someone I’m not targeting. While I do believe he’s the better fighter in this fight, I caution picking him due to a few factors. One, Ulanbekov is not really a finisher, as he enters this fight with a 54% finishing rate. Two, his debut against Bruno Silva was competitive and only resulted in 84.8 fantasy points. At this price tag, that’s not going to cut it. Throw in the fact that Allan Nascimento has an 83% finishing and has not been finished in his 23 professional fights, and I’d say he could be worth a shot as a salary saver.
Verdict: Allan Nascimento or pass